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August 2, 2001

ABS issues offshore crew habitabilty guide
As offshore exploration and development pushes into deepwater, there are growing needs for quality crew accommodation and habitability aboard facilities that are increasingly farther from shore.

Longer stays aboard by offshore crews potentially impacting crew productivity, performance and safety.

The application of human factors engineering (HFE) to issues of crew habitability is one tool to meet these challenges, says Denise B. McCafferty, Manager of Safety Assessment and Human Factors for ABS.

To address these issues, ABS has released the industry's first comprehensive Crew Habitability Guide. It provides criteria for living and working conditions that will improve productivity, morale and overall safety

The ABS Guide for Crew Habitability on Offshore Installations is a single-source document addressing crew performance and quality of life aboard offshore installations

First introduced in draft form at this year's OTC, the guide is aimed at enhancing human performance and, as a result, reducing human error on offshore installations.

The ABS Guide defines habitability as the acceptable condition of an offshore installation in terms of noise, vibration, indoor climate and lighting, as well as accommodation design, according to prevailing research and standards for human performance and comfort.

The new guide provides quantifiable assessment criteria and describes the measurement methodology for obtaining a Habitability (HAB or HAB+) notation or certification. These assessments are voluntary and optional and can assist offshore operators in improving crew member performance and their living and working conditions.

For the HAB level, the Guide focuses on the five categories of habitability criteria that can affect crew task performance. The HAB+ level addresses the same habitability categories but calls out more stringent vibration and indoor climate criteria aimed at increasing crew comfort. ABS-classed installations that meet the specified criteria will be awarded the appropriate notation.

For non-ABS classed installations, certification to either HAB or HAB+ is offered.

Aboard most installations, the crew is subjected to low-frequency motions from installation movement or single impulse shock loads as well as to high-frequency mechanical vibrations. For the basic HAB level, criteria for vibration occurring in the accommodation are aimed at limiting potential interference with work tasks.

The more stringent vibration criteria for the HAB+ level are aimed at improving crew comfort. HAB+ is defined as the ability of the crew to use a space for its intended purpose with minimal interference or annoyance from vibration.

This approach focuses upon the individual human being as the receiver of low- and high-frequency vibrationa significant departure from standards that concentrate solely upon measuring high-frequency mechanical vibration from machinery, said McCafferty.

Noise
Numerous studies exist that establish the effects of noise upon speech communication, hearing loss, sleep and annoyance. McCafferty advises that these studies provide the basis for the ABS criteria, adding that noise levels can have an enormous impact upon physiology, psychology and health.

The ABS Guide specifies maximum noise levels (based on a time-weighted average (LAeq)) in crew accommodation spaces and working areas, navigation and control spaces, service spaces, operating spaces and maintenance areas.

Aimed at improving performance, facilitating communication and enhancing comfort, the noise criteria for the HAB and the HAB+ levels are the same. These noise criteria in the Guide are more conservative than the hearing conservation levels specified by most existing legislation and regulations.

Indoor climate
The criteria of the ABS Guide address climatically controlled crew living and working spaces. Factors including air temperature, air velocity, humidity and personal issues, such as physical activity and clothing, influence comfort.

The HAB criteria for indoor climate provide for a preset return air temperature maintained by a temperature controller for each zone. The HAB level does not make provisions for allowing adjustments to suit personal preferences for temperature, circulation and dehumidification within each specific space.

Because there are individual differences between people's temperature sensitivity and perception of comfort, the more stringent HAB+ level is aimed at enhancing crew comfort by making provisions for adjusting indoor climate to suit personal needs within specific spaces, said McCafferty.

Lighting
The lighting of crew spaces must facilitate visual task performance and safe crew movement. Important considerations to lighting include task length and criticality, visual fatigue, glare, reflections or shadows and the age and visual acuity of the observer.
While sufficient lighting is essential for both indoor and outdoor areas on an installation, the controversy with lighting arises in determining sufficient illumination, said McCafferty.

The Guide defines acceptable lighting levels for crew accommodation spaces, navigation and control spaces, service spaces, operating and maintenance spaces and drilling compartments, based on the types of tasks likely to be undertaken. Criteria are also given for spaces that use red, low-level white or blue illuminence for nighttime operations. The lighting criteria are the same for the HAB and HAB+ levels.


APPLICATIONS
The evaluation criteria and measurement methodologies of the new ABS Guide are specific to the awarding of ABS HAB and HAB+ notations or certifications. The Guide specifies the end result of design and construction rather than detailing the design and construction processes by which the criteria are to be achieved.

CAE buys Valmarine
Canadian-based simulation and control system specialist CAE has purchased Norway's Valmarine AS (Valmarine) for C$58 million (NOK 350 million) in cash and shares. The new company will be part of CAE's Marine Controls business and will be named CAE Valmarine.

"This acquisition will accelerate CAE's entry into the commercial marine market, a key objective in CAE's growth strategy," said Derek H. Burney, CAE's president and CEO.

Valmarine AS, based in Drammen, Norway, is the former Valmet Automation AS. Around 450 of its Damatic alarm, monitoring and control systems have been installed onboard ship.

Cammell troubles hit Marseilles repairer
French ship repairer Compagnie Marseillaise de Reparation (CMR), a subsidiary of Britain's bankrupt Cammell Laird group has been placed in receivership by the Marseilles courts. According to French newspaper reports, the Marseilles repairer will remain under observation by the court for a six month period.Its situation will be re-examined October 1.

CMR reportedly has enough cash to continue in operation until the end of September. Reportedly, two offers for the yard may be in the pipeline, one from a former owner, the other from a Genoa, Italy, repairer.

Meantime, in Britain, the receiver for Cammell Laird, is to mothball all its British shipyards. The Teeside yard has already closed and the Tyneside and Birkenhead yards will be mothballed as work on contracts ends. Selling the operation as a going concern has proved impossible as would be buyers balked at tough employment liabilities. imposed under British and EU law.

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